Bible Studies/Romans 8:28
QUESTION: So then if this verse means that all things will work out for those that love God, then by contrast wouldn't that also mean that for people who don't know God, that when bad things happen to them, that no good will come of it?
ANSWER: True. Those who love God will enjoy His grace, mercy, and blessing. And all things will ultimately lead to that, and to God's glory.
John Piper, in his book, Don't Waste Your Life, says, "God is most glorified when I am most satisfied in Him." Conversely, "I am most satisfied when God is most glorified in me."
For those who do not love God, ultimately they will miss out on God's blessing and instead receive what they (and we all) deserve--God's judgment.
Note also that, while one may not currently love God, that can change ... and so can God's treatment of them. In other words, while one is still living, there is still hope, and an opportunity for things to change.
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QUESTION: ok so does this mean that God really does/can treat people bad when they don't love Him?
Another question: Ok. How does God feel when people are mad at him? Many people must be mad especially when a horrible event happens that takes their loved ones such as the Sandy Hook shootings.
See, here's the problem. We are moving from Maine to Florida. We stopped at a service plaza along the way. Our kitty bolted from her carrier.
Well, we couldn't find her and had to go to a motel without our favorite kitty. that night I was so mad at God for not letting us find her, for not making her come out of hiding, for letting her be so scared as to run in the first place.... I was scared, hurt, mad, disappointed.. all of that. She is a living creature after all. Not a tree without feelings, and I cried 1/2 the night.
Well, we found her again. She came out of hiding after the traffic died down and some BK employees found her. They called my cell phone.
3 days later, I am not AS mad as I was. But I still think it was a mean thing to do. There are a lot of things to be thankful for, the people that looked out for her, that she wasn't run over.. But if God had not let her get so scared in the first place, none of this would have happened. I know I'm not supposed to be mad, but how do I stop?
ANSWER: Hi Joyce,
I think I understand where you're coming from. Even though all things work together for good, that does not mean that everything seems good at the time. God allows "bad" things to happen. But He can use them for good. Or, as John Piper puts it, He turns every bad thing to good.
In James 1, we are told to "Count it all joy when we fall into various trials." Seriously? When trials come upon us, we're not only supposed to tolerate them or get through them, but actually rejoice? Yes. Why is that? The passage goes on to say, "... knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." In other words, God uses even trials to make us better people.
I would highly recommend that you read John Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life. In it, he explains how that the same God who promises to meet all of our needs is still just when we feel like we are lacking or suffering. He deals with the question, "What do we really need?", and focuses on God as the ultimate source of our joy and fulfillment. When we find our joy in God, we realize our highest joy and satisfaction.
How does God feel when we get mad at Him? I imagine He feels the same way a parent would feel when his child gets mad at him. He becomes a little disappointed. But He's big enough to take it. And He doesn't let our moods get in the way of loving us unconditionally. In fact, I think God sometimes welcomes our honesty and transparency when we tell Him how we really feel, even when it's anger.
Ultimately, the lesson we should learn is that God is never really mean. When we consider what we actually deserve, and all of the good things we have instead that we don't deserve, we beginn to realize just how good, loving, kind, gracious, and merciful He is. And there's nothing quite like having a parent like that.
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QUESTION: OK. I AM no longer mad at God. I realize now that He actually took care of my kitty. I found out later there were lots of wild animals around that could have gotten her but God was watching out for her. And all the people that helped catch her.
Now back to Romans 8:28. does this mean that God really does treat people badly that don't love him? That their lives would be way easier if they did accept God? And isn't that a form of blackmail?
Glad to hear that!
Does God treat people badly that don't love Him? You could say that. Perhaps a better way to say it is that God treats people fairly, justly.
One of God's predominate characteristics is His holiness. He demands perfection. And, when He created man, he made him perfect, and placed him in a perfect environment (albeit with a free will, which, according to God, was "good").
God is our Creator. Without Him, we would not exist. He is the Sovereign God of the universe. As such, He deserves our complete obedience and devotion. He deserves nothing less than perfection.
When we violated God's holiness, we fell under His condemnation and judgment. We dared to shake our fists in the face of our Sovereign Creator. When we fell from God's grace, we stood condemned before Him.
So here's the question. What do we DESERVE? We (all of us) deserve nothing more than God's judgment.
And yet, despite our blatant rebellion towards God, He, in His abundant love, extended to us His mercy and grace. Despite what we deserve, He freely offered mankind not only forgiveness and deliverance from condemnation through His Son's sacrificial death, but also a full and abundant life and a personal relationship with Him. Wow! That is HUGE!
So all we need to do is to respond in kind, returning God's love for us with our love for Him. This begins, of course, by dealing with the sin question and removing the condemnation. This comes when one is born again (John 3:1-21; Romans 10:9-13). Then, as children of God, we learn to grow our love for God as we experience life with Him and get to know Him.
We all deserve God's judgment. Yet, God offers everyone the opportunity to escape His judgment and enjoy His blessing. All we have to do is accept that. And this free gift is available to anyone who will take it.
It is a free choice. And yes, choices have consequences. Choose God, and He stands ready to bless our socks off. Reject God, and we will receive nothing more than what we deserve.
I wouldn't call this blackmail. I call it grace.